Is it possible to do too much yoga?

Yoga_2015Sep28_AYou love yoga. We get it, because we love yoga too. But if you are not careful, it can be easy to overdo it. One of the most important principles of yoga is to do no harm onto self or others. However, doing too much yoga or pushing yourself too hard can result in this ideal being neglected. It’s important to remember that yoga, just like anything else in your life, should be practiced in moderation.

The thing about yoga that makes it different from other forms of exercise is that you can do it every day and still feel great. Now this depends on the type of yoga you practice, but it is possible to partake in yoga seven days a week and not have any problems. Of course, whether you can and should actually be doing it that often are two very different questions.

While there is no definitive way of knowing when you’re overdoing the yoga practice, the first thing you should be doing is listening to the messages your body sends you. If you are feeling soreness and pain, it is important to stop and rest. You might think this sounds like a no-brainer, but many of us lose track of this in the heat of the moment and just put pain down to aches and sprains without thinking it could be a sign more more serious damage.

As we try to master a pose or push ourselves to the next level, we disconnect from the moment and let our minds become distracted. Once that occurs, we are less mindful of what the body is experiencing physically, and more focused on the end result. This negates many of yoga’s benefits and probably isn’t the reason you started practicing in the first place.

If you find yourself either experiencing physical pain or losing focus on what your body is telling you during yoga, it can be a sign you’re practicing too much. When you overpractice, it is possible to strain and sprain ligaments and tendons in your body, as well as cause problems for your joints, so it is important to be alert to what is happening in these areas of your body at all times.

The signs of doing too much yoga don’t apply only to the realm of physical or mental issues. Part of yoga is considering others, and it’s possible to get so caught up with practicing that you forget about friends and family. Much like you need to be mindful of your body as you are doing yoga, you should listen to what people say about how yoga relates to your life outside of the studio.

Do family and friends complain that you no longer have time for them because you are always practicing yoga? Have they expressed concern about how many yoga classes you participate in? It’s possible that there is some truth in these claims that you may have never even considered. Be mindful of the needs of other people in your life, and try not to neglect them in favor of yoga.

As long as you are practicing yoga in moderation, it is likely you won’t ever have to worry about doing too much. It’s also important to point out that the meaning of moderation will vary wildly from person to person. Some can do it five hours a day without it being an issue, while two or three classes a week will be the right amount for others. Don’t get caught up in what everyone else does, because you will end up losing sight of the most important aspect of practicing yoga in the first place – your mind and body.

We’re here to help you better understand all things yoga. Contact us today for advice, tips or answers to any questions you may have.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

New study reveals yoga helps with arthritis

164_Yoga_AOne in five adults are affected by arthritis, which adds up to over 50 million people across the United States. While the condition causes varying degrees of discomfort – ranging from minor annoyance to debilitating pain – it is in fact the leading cause of disability in the country, with over 20 million people claiming it limits their physical activity. So if you happen to suffer from arthritis, the results of a recent study may have some good news for you. It reveals that yoga can help alleviate some of your symptoms. Here’s the scoop.

Although there is no known cure for arthritis, there are ways to manage it. It is widely accepted that physical activity is one way to alleviate some of the pain. In fact, even the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that 75-150 minutes of aerobic activity each week can reduce arthritis symptoms. It therefore makes sense that yoga also helps. While not all yoga counts as aerobic exercise, it does get your body moving, which can only help in the struggle against arthritis.

The study

Conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and later published in the Journal of Rheumatology, the study took place over eight weeks and consisted of 75 adults who suffered from either knee or rheumatoid arthritis. They participated in three yoga sessions a week: two one-hour long classes, and a session at home.

It’s worth noting that the researchers were quite cautious with the patients who participated. Because yoga could potentially have a negative impact on their arthritic joints, the researchers were careful to incorporate poses tailored to each individual’s needs.

The results

At the conclusion of the study, participants reported a 20% improvement in a range of categories including pain, mood, energy levels, and the ability to perform daily tasks and activities. What’s more, nine months after the study, the participants reported these improvements hadn’t lessened in any way.

So what do the researchers of the study have to say about the results? Co-author Susan J. Bartlett says: “Yoga may be especially well suited to people with arthritis because it combines physical activity with potent stress management and relaxation techniques, and focuses on respecting limitations that can change from day to day.”

Because yoga can be a gentle way to incorporate physical exercise into your day, it may be a perfect match for those with arthritis. So if you suffer from this condition and are looking to give yoga a try, start slowly with a gentle yoga class first. Listen to your body and only push yourself further when you’re ready for more of a challenge. For recommendations specific to your needs, get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

5 tips to clean your yoga mat

Yoga_Sep14_AWhether you enjoy traditional hot yoga or fast-paced Vinyasa classes, one thing is for certain: no matter how often you use your yoga mat, it will get dirty and eventually wear out. In order to extend the life of your yoga mat and keep odors at bay, you need to clean it regularly and carefully maintain it whenever you use it. We’ve listed some yoga-mat-cleaning tips to help you get started.

Making a cleaning solution

Creating a mat-cleaning solution is simple – simply mix a tablespoon of detergent and about a gallon of lukewarm water in a bowl. If your mat is particularly stinky, make sure you add a teaspoon of baking soda to douse the smell. You can either drop your mat into the solution and quickly pull it out, or apply the solution to the mat with a small spray bottle or a clean sponge.

Spraying your mat

Clean your mat with a good spritz. You can easily find a spray bottle at any department store. In addition to the cleaning solution above, we also recommend mixing one part water to three parts white vinegar, and applying the solution over the surface of your mat. If your mat seems especially dirty, let the solution sit and soak in a bit before rubbing it off. Alternatively, you can add a couple drops of essential oil to create a nice scent. Some essential oils, such as eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree oils, have antibacterial properties, and therefore will help eliminate the germs on your mat.

Cleaning your mat in the washing machine

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can always put the mat in the washing machine. Get started by arranging your mat in the machine as evenly as possible. Then add a couple of drops of mild detergent. Baby detergent works well here, because it is formulated to get rid of body-related residues. Run the machine on the gentle cycle using warm water. If the drum becomes unbalanced, turn off the machine and arrange the mat so that the weight is evenly distributed.

Drying your mat

The best way to dry a yoga mat is to let it air dry on its own. Roll your mat up with an absorbent towel and gently step on it to squeeze out the excess water. Leave it unrolled while it dries, in order to avoid moisture being trapped between the folds. Then either lay it flat on the floor, hang it on your towel bar, or even spread it outside if it’s not too hot. It may take anywhere between 24 and 48 hours to fully dry your mat.

Keeping your mat clean

Don’t forget to wipe your mat clean each time you use it. Try to always wipe soil or dirt off your feet before stepping on the mat, too. These are the easiest ways to keep your mat clean and free of dirt, sweat, and dust, as well as prolong its life.

Your mat keeps you from slipping in standing poses, and gives you cushioning for seated or reclining poses. Therefore it makes sense to provide it with the cleaning and care it needs. Want more yoga tips and tricks? Get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

5 things you should never do at a yoga class

Yoga_Sep7_AYou’ve probably heard all about the benefits of yoga. As a workout, it’s incredible for increasing your flexibility, toning your muscles, and relieving stress. And September is National Yoga Month, so if you haven’t practiced yoga before, there’s no better time to summon the courage and give it a try! Of course, If you’re fairly new to yoga, then you might feel intimidated at the idea of joining your first class. No one likes to look foolish by doing something wrong. So get started by reading these five things that you should never do in a yoga class.

Entering class late

Entering the studio while a class is still in session is disruptive to both your instructor and fellow practitioners. What’s more, your instructor will likely plan classes very specifically, so turning up late and jumping straight into the practice won’t be good for your body. You should be punctual, or even arrive 10 minutes early to allow time to settle in before class, practice a pose, do some stretches, or just simply sit quietly and reflect.

Bringing your mobile devices

Most of us are dependent on our smartphones to keep our lives and work running smoothly. But yoga is a time of relaxation and self-exploration. Simply put, it is a time that you don’t need to use any electronics. Constantly checking notifications, texting, or answering calls will only distract you, as well as others around you, from the practice. So it’s best to leave your phone in the locker room, or at least keep it on silent if you must have it by your side.

Chatting with the person next to you

Making friends with your yoga neighbors before and after a session is part of the group class experience, but you should stay silent when class commences. Many yogis relish the practice as a time to turn inward and connect to their own bodies, so don’t be offended if no-one talks to you. People around you need to focus on performing challenging poses, and you should be doing the same.

Invading other people’s space

Be aware of where you’re placing your mat, so you don’t position yourself right in front of, or too close to, someone else. Don’t fuss and move around too much when the class starts, either. Space can be really tight in some yoga classes, so try to avoid collisions with other people, and leave plenty of room to stretch your arms and legs.

Rushing out of class

Instead of going straight to the dressing room and leaving the studio quickly, take some time afterwards to think about what you did in class, so you can retain what you’ve experienced and learned. Take a closer look at the poses you practiced, and note any useful tips and instructions from your instructor. Reviewing each of your sessions can help deepen your own personal practice and sharpen your skills as a yogi.

After a class, you’ll feel a great sense of peace, relaxation, and inspiration. If you want to give yoga a try, get in touch with our expert instructors today.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Here’s why to consider shirtless yoga

Yoga_Aug25_ARemoving your shirt during your yoga class, and practicing in your sports bra, might not be something you have ever considered. Many of us have inhibitions about going semi-topless in a sports environment, even in the usually supportive setting of a yoga class. Yet it can be the ideal way to connect with both yourself and the other women at your studio, and to derive a deeper experience from your yoga practice. Here’s why slipping off your shirt, and letting out your true self, might be something you want to consider for your next class.

You’ll feel comfortable in your own skin

It’s easy to spend our lives hiding behind clothes and make-up. But a big part of yoga is about letting our real selves shine, accepting who we are – imperfections included – and loving ourselves. Yes, it might take a leap of faith and a big dose of bravery the first time you pull a pose in just your bra, but taking off your shirt during a yoga session gives you the chance to develop more confidence and feel more comfortable in your own body.

The confidence and warmth you give off will make you appear more attractive and likeable to others, and you’ll also feel a positive vulnerability that puts you in a better place to push beyond your comfort zone as you explore the spiritual side of yoga. What’s more, it’s a chance to feel deep gratitude for the body you have, and to reject the pressures that society places on us to desire physical belongings or to forever seek to change our appearance.

It makes others think about it, too

You’re not the only one who will benefit when you remove your shirt. There’s no doubt you’ll catch the eye of other women in your yoga class, who will likely admire you for having the confidence to just go for it. Some might have considered doing the same but never quite felt able to go through with it, while many others won’t even have thought about it – and might ordinarily say it’s not the sort of thing they would ever do. But by going ahead and demonstrating the benefits of a deep, semi-topless yoga experience, you’ll inspire other yogis to move beyond their comfort zone and feel the sense of liberation too.

It helps you to cool down

Let’s face it, yoga can get hot – if you’re practicing a variety of poses, and especially if you’re doing them to a high level of intensity and in quick succession, you’re likely going to break a sweat. What better way to cool down and let your body regulate its own temperature than by losing the shirt and instead experiencing the full depth of your poses without the constriction of clothing? The benefits of keeping cool mean you’ll be able to practice for longer, too.

Yoga is about discovering and embracing the real you as much as it is about physical exercise and all its undeniable health benefits. If you want to find out more about how yoga can put you on the path to a happier you, just give us a call.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.